Monday, 25 January 2016

'Sahasralinga' - Thousand Lingas In The River 'Shalmala'

Sahasralinga is a pilgrimage place located in Sirsi Taluk of Uttara Kananda District which is known for its natural beauty. Sahasra Linga means thousand Lingas. These Lingas are carved on the rocks situated in the river Shalmala, throughout the river bed. Each Linga also has an individual bull (Nandi) carved facing towards them. But now only few hundred Lingas can be seen as continuous running water of the river has destroyed many.

History says that these Lingas were built by the King Sadashivaraya who ruled the Sirsi town in 17th century. He was childless. He worshiped Lord Shiva with devotion and Lord Shiva blessed him with a son. In order to return his favor Sadashivaraya constructed these Shiva Lingas in the river.  Not only Shivalingas and Nandis but also we can see carvings of animals, birds and some divine figures. 

A Carving which depicts Kamadhenu worshipping Shivalinga
There are steps to reach these Shivalingas. We can also worship Shivalingas. We saw people taking dip in the river and offering pooja to Lingas. The place where Shivalingas are present is not deep and dangerous but quite slippery. Children can also dip their feet in the water and have some fun. My son sat on the rock dipping his feet in the water and started playing happily. 

During Shivaratri this place will be crowded with thousands of pilgrims. This is the best time to visit as water level in the river will be low and most of the Shivalingas are visible. 
One more attraction of the Sahasra Linga is a long hanging bridge/cable bridge constructed across the Shalmala river. From the bridge view of the nature and the river looks serene and beautiful. 
I really liked the place because it is quite unique, interesting and beautiful in the middle of the nature. 
How to reach Sahasralinga : 
Sahasralinga is around 17 kms from Sirsi. You have to cross Bhairumbe and reach Hulgol bus stop. From here it is around 2 kms distance. There is a large parking place near Sahasralinga and parking fee is Rs 20/-

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Bheemana Gudda - A Must Visit Sunset Point In Sirsi

Beautiful curves of rolling hills and highlands, hugs of cool breeze, little by little setting sun, the sky painted with an array of orange, pink and yellow, a landscape designed by God himself..... Yes this is the beauty of the sunset as seen from Bheemana Gudda. This place is in Sirsi taluk of Nature rich Uttara Kannada district. This place is also called as Bheemanavare Gudda.
We visited Bheemana Gudda in December when we were in Sirsi. My father in law and sister in law accompanied us. Bheemana Gudda is 30 kms away from Sirsi and 13kms away from Amminalli. We went on the same road which goes to Unchalli falls and took turn near Heggarane. From here we went one kilometer further inside on the rough road. If you are watchful you can see the board here which gives the direction to Bheemana Gudda. But one can easily miss this board. There is also one check post but it was locked. Few meters away from this check post there is a view point. All vehicles go till this view point. We parked the car here and after little bit of trek from the view point we reached the top of Bheemana Gudda.
View Point

Little bit of Trek that leads to top of the Gudda
Once you are at the top, you will forget all the troubles you took to find out the place :) You feel fresh, energized and admire the nature. It is not just the sunset, the entire view from top of the gudda is so beautiful that it can not be explained in words. It is something to be seen, felt and experienced! I counted more than 35 hill slopes which can be seen from top of the gudda. 

You can also see the beautiful Aghanashini valley from the top. As the sun turned orange and started setting,  its reflection in the valley is the sight not to be missed. 

I did some research on why this hill is called as Bheemana Gudda? Could not collect much information. However it is said that during Mahabharata period giant Bheema had come here and slept on these hills. 
Note : 
While visiting Bheemana Gudda it is better to take a local person with you, who knows the direction to the Gudda. Otherwise it is difficult to search the place as the directions are not clear. 
If you are going to watch the sunset then better to reach the place before 6 PM. If you are late you may miss some glorious views. Watching sunrise in the early morning is equally thrilling.
Be cautious of wild animals as you have to pass through the forest area. We encountered with two wild buffaloes while going to the Gudda. As soon as sun sets it is better to leave the place.
Encounter with wild Buffaloes on the way to Bheemana Gudda
If hills are covered with fog then it is difficult to have clear view of the sunset. 
You should be extremely careful if you take kids with you. This place is very dangerous and has absolutely no safety measures for tourists safety and security. Just a slip from top of the hill can be deadly. 
Carry enough food and water. Dont throw wastes and plastic covers at the place. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Eco Beach@ Kasarkod (Honnavar) - The First Eco Themed Beach In Karnataka

I had never thought that, one day the lonely and the long shores of Kasarkod beach of Honnavar will attain the status of first Eco themed beach of Karnataka :) Last week of December I was at native to spend the year end vacation. As usual we wanted to spend some time along the shores of a beach. This time I suggested Kasarkod beach as it had been a long time since I visited that beach. I really surprised by seeing the transformation of the beach from being a simple beach to the 'Eco Beach'. Boards which say the importance of nature have been put up on both sides of the road which leads to the Eco beach. At the entrance models of beautiful mermaids welcomed us. Entry fee is Rs 20/head. Free entry for the children aged below three years. 
Road that leads to the Eco beach

Models of Mermaids at the entrance of Eco beach
The eco-beach was developed jointly by the Tourism and Forest Department of Karnataka and Kasarkod Village Forest Committee to promote Eco tourism in coastal areas. The main attraction of the Kasarkod beach is the large Casuarina plantation which has developed into a thick forest by the side of the beach, stretching up to a few kilometres on the sea shore, and provides a thick green cover. This Casuarina plantation has become an added advantage for the development of Eco beach. 
After entering the Eco beach park area, green lawn facing the sea attracts us.

There are many attractions for kids. There is a big children play area with all the equipment. Models of their favorite cartoon characters like Chhota Bheem can be seen here.  Models of sea animals like turtle, crab, sharks, dolphin,star fish, prawns, deep sea creatures like sea horse, octopus,etc attract everyone. So at the Eco beach kids not only have fun but also get the awareness about coastal life and Eco system. My son was busy playing in the sand and identifying the animals. He had unlimited fun :) 
Models of Sea Animals

When I was a kid, collecting varieties of sea shells was my hobby. I had huge collection of different sized, colored sea shells. Eco beach has models of these sea shells too :)
Models Of Sea Shells

Models Of Fishermen & Women Catching The Fish
There are attractive sitting arrangements for the people. Benches made by sea shells, small huts etc are helpful to sit, relax and have beautiful view of the beach. There are other attractions for adults too like rope walking, rope climbing, paragola etc.
Sitting Arrangements @ The Eco Beach

Enough seen? Now It is time to watch the beautiful sunset at the beach. Head towards the sea to watch the nature's wonder, the glorious sunset :)
Sunset @ the Kasarkod beach

Facilities @ the Eco beach : Canteen, food stalls, Pay & use toilets, bathrooms etc are available for the tourists. However littering, throwing wastes, smoking, alcohol and other illegal activities are prohibited in the area.

How to reach the Eco Beach : It is just two kms after the Sharavathi Bridge, Honnavar and easy to find.  After crossing the bridge towards Bhatkal on NH 17, you can see the direction boards at your right side.